Spirit with a capital S.

Ever since Thanksgiving, I have made it a personal goal to dress as Christmas-y as possible.  
Is it obvious that Christmas is my favorite holiday?

I don't know how it's possible for any kid's "favorite holiday" (you know that age old question that people ask you when you're a kid) could be any holiday other than Christmas.  The amount of presents at any other point in the year can't even TOUCH Christmas.  

Ho ho ho!

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a season of thanks.

But more than anything, I am thankful for you.

For your friendship
for our laughs
for snuggles
and hugs
for your forgiving nature
for your sacrifice
for your endurance
for your Godliness
for every last bit of you.
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A hint of what's to come.

Despite the fact that I actually DO still have homework due tomorrow (not to mentino a hefty paper due on Monday and an even heftier, a "doozy" as my chem teacher called it, exam next week....), last night Matt and I took the liberty of pretending we don't have obligations or responsibilities and stayed up writing music together from 9:30pm to 1:30am.  Needless to say.... the result is a pretty rockin' Christmas song that I hope to someday share with you.

So 6 hours of sleep and a tired Natalie got up out of bed this morning for a piano lesson.  In which I asked, "please don't laugh", because I had only practiced Christmas music this week.

What is happening to my brain!!!

 [welcome to the un-lived in part of our upstairs]

It works, right?

Oh, and then a tiny ice skating rink came to my campus.  Best.  Idea.  Ever.

Is this was graduated life will be like?  I hope so.
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four. more. days.

Kind of like the four. more. years! four. more. years! chant that was so popular around elections.
But seriously.
There are like 4 days of actual class left before Thanksgiving Break.
I don't know if you know this, but after Thanksgiving there are only 2 weeks of school.
So basically, they should just hand me my diploma now since spring semester flies by so fast anyway.

My little brain is freaking excited!!
Not the kind of excited where you jump up and down and hug your husband several times.
The kind of excited where you are tickled silly and it makes you want to pee your pants.  And you sometimes burst into little squeaks and *sighs* in the middle of class, which are usually followed by peers expecting some sort of explanation (not exaggeration).

This outfit I chose as a "Holiday Party" outfit.  If you think the leg warmers are ridiculous.... you're probably right.  But I have this nagging obsession with them.  Seriously, I have to wash them about once a week.  Also.  Leg warmers bring some spunky and edgy element to an outfit that would be totally absent without them.  And did I mention they're warm?  Who knows if this dinner party is going to have a fireplace or not. 

[The skirt and top are Nordstrom, leg warmers are American Apparel, and wedges are Gap.]

Have a blessed Thursday!

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Things you will never do again. [and winter series part 2]

Just two days ago, my husband got MRI results for his knees.  The doctor's words?  "Your career is over."  My sweet husband who was the best basket ball player on any team he joined can no longer run, jump, dive, or leap.  I don't know if he or I was more devastated.  I cried my little eyes out two nights ago.  My heart is broken for him.  

The text he sent me read, "I guess I always thought I'd be able to do the things with my kids that my dad did with me."  He never thought he would be in this position.

I told him we can't give up yet.  That prayer is powerful.  That he shouldn't resign to never play ever again (of course, the doctor said if he plays, he will end up needing knee replacements)...  

Letting go of things that are so close to us and our identity can be extremely challenging.  I recently have been grappling with the fact that I will never get the chance to be the president of my chamber choir - a position I have wanted to fill for years and years and years of my life.  I have recently been coming to terms with the fact that I am not a music education major, which is what I really wanted to do.  These are things that you just wish with all your might and strength to go back in time to change. maybe if his jumping form had been better, his knees would be okay...

Matt's words, "I never, ever thought I'd be in this place at the age of 30" were hanging in my memory yesterday.  They hung there so long because my father spoke the exact same words to me yesterday as well (replace the 30 with a 60).  "I never thought I'd be here," he said.  What's funnier is that I never thought I would be where I am, either.  Married at 21 and never living with roommates in college.... what!  But here I am.  And here's my Dad.  And here's my sweet Matthew.

So all this hanging-of-words in my brain got me thinking.  What do we do with situations like these that are handed to an unknowing and sometimes not-so-grateful us? 

My dad has a great chance to start something new in his life now that old doors are closing.
I have had the best 2 years of my life - sharing a home and living with the one person I care most about.
Matthew has a chance to do other sports he may never have tried - kayaking? 

I once heard that there are three keys to true happiness.  Aside from not mentioning Jesus Christ, I think they are pretty spot on. 

1) Don't have expectations.  If you do, you will always be let down.
2) Be thankful.  For everything.  Not just around the holidays.
3) And the third one for the life of me... I can't remember.  But surely the first two are a good start. 

If I expected to be living with other girls, if my Dad expected to have some phenomenal career that left him a millionaire, and if Matt expected to play on tournament winning teams until the end, we were all headed in the direction of being let down.  Instead, we ought to be thankful.  At least Matt has legs.  At least I don't have to leave college and try to find "the one".  At least my Dad has had an amazing music career that has left him with beautifully fond memories and a rich musical background. 

So today, I am thankful.  I am thankful for my husband, for the rest of his perfectly well-functioning body, and for my dad's musical intuition that has led me to the one thing that I love most in this life.  I am so very, very thankful.

And now on to more playful things, like leaves.

This is preeeetttttty much my go-to outfit this fall/winter.  A sweatshirt, a skirt, some tights or leggings, and something big and warm around my feet and calves.  Any combination of colors is great.  
The boots are Sorrell, and although I don't wear them often, I have been extremely thankful for them in snowier times.  H&M skirt, Nordstrom sweater.  
Happy hump day friends.
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A winter series.

I can't give a big enough shout out to my fabulous friend and photographer, Tara Newman.  She truly does an amazing job.  Thank-you a million times over for such a fun Saturday.  You are so easy to work with and so knowledgable, and you sure know how to make my skin look good ;)  

As many of you know, I did a little fall series back in August on "what to wear for fall" or... something like that.  Now that school has hit and the amount of income I make has significantly decreased, I have done about zero shopping.
But.  It is still possible to take a lot of things you have and re-work them to be fresh and, well, warm? :)

So here we goooo with the winter series!!! [And my hopefully helpful tips on how to assemble a cute winter outfit from your old and boring closet].

First.  Can I get an amen for baggy sweatshirts and overly long tank tops?  Seriously, this winter's looks have got me wrapped around their fingers.  I am so glad to have an October birthday so I could score this black and purple beauty. I paired it with a contrasting pattern so the combo would stand out.  They accent each other nicely... in a weird way.. at least I think ;)  The socks are my husband's (also an amen for husbands' socks!).  They're ski socks?  Soccer socks?  Who knows.  The boots are a forever-ago purchase from Target.  (Oh, the sweater and tank are Nordstrom's.  where else.)  Those little fingerless gloves will be making lots of appearances over the next few months.  They were about $4 from H&M last fall.  They're "fall"ing apart and I don't even care - they're perfect.  

By the way.... hello!  I feel like there's something between us all.
[It starts with a "t" and ends with an "ime", and I'm so sorry!]

Have a happy happy Tuesday!
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Amazing, amazing, amazing how time flies.
Yesterday I chose my schedule for my last semester of college. 

Matt and I sometimes talk about what is next - the ideas are endless.
Some probable, some not.
Some nights I have break downs, other nights the thought of graduation gets me grinning wildly.

[a birthday night out for a couple of best friends]

[a birthday lunch at my favorite, favorite, favorite salem restaurant] 

And now I am 23!  
[Not pictured: time growing a pair of wings and fly, fly, flying away.]

A special huge thanks to my wonderful husband Matt for such a wonderful birthday last month.  You are one special guy.
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